Monday, April 26, 2004 1:02 AM
Freemasons endorse GMA bid
By MIA GONZALEZ
The countrys freemasons have endorsed the candidacy of President Arroyo, whom they declared as part of the Masonic family because her maternal grandfather was a member of the brotherhood, it was learned Sunday.
The endorsement was made by the Most Worshipful Roberto Q. Pagotan, Grand Master, at the 88th Annual Communication of the Freemasons of the Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City keynoted by Mrs. Arroyo.
In his welcome remarks, Pagotan said that the group claims with pride a special kinship” with the President as her grandfather, Juan Macaraeg was a freemason.
As his granddaughter, Her Excellency belongs to the extended family of masons and all of us have the duty to give you the fraternitys love, care and protection….Your Excellency, you belong to the Masonic family. Our brothers and sisters welcome you will full affection,” he said.
He said that perhaps no other grouping is as loyal to the Republic of the Philippines as the brotherhood as it has produced three presidents: Emilio Aguinaldo, Manuel Quezon and Manuel Roxas.
The President, who has attended previous freemason engagements in Manila and in Nueva Ecija, expressed gratitude for being recognized as a family” member and said she had learned much about the brotherhood through her grandfathers books which had been passed on to her mother, the late First Lady Eva Macapagal.
She said based on her readings, she learned what ideal public servants masons make” as they are dedicated to the service of others, and cited the appointment of members to her administration, among them, National Police Chief Hermogenes Ebdane Jr.
She said she too is set on making a difference in the lives of the people, should she be elected for a full term, and enumerated her six pledges if she wins on May 10.
Her pledges include one million jobs a year and tripled loans for small and self-employed businessmen.